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World-renowned bee expert to speak at virtual Birding and Wildflower Society meeting

Bee buzzing around sunflower

The Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society starts its 2020-21 speaker series and meetings on Thursday, Sept. 3, via Zoom. Dr. Kirsten Traynor, an international bee and pollinator expert, is the first guest speaker. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The necessity of virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up a world of possibilities for the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society.

The group resumes its monthly guest speaker programs on Sept. 3 with internationally renowned bee and pollinator expert Dr. Kirsten Traynor.

“She’s currently in Berlin, so there’s no way we could every imagine paying a travel stipend to bring her here,” said Maria Whitsett of the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society. “We’re excited about getting the new year started with such a dynamic and internationally known speaker.”

Traynor took up beekeeping as an adult, developing a passion for pollinators and eventually earning her doctorate in biology. She traveled over 50,000 miles in 2006 and 2007 to study the differences between American and European beekeepers.

She currently has a dual appointment to Arizona State University and the Free University of Berlin as a research associate. In January, Traynor kicked off a quarterly magazine, 2 Million Blossoms, which focuses on protecting pollinators.

At the Thursday meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. via video conferencing app Zoom, Traynor will discuss the role of bees and other pollinators and how to protect them.

“Heaven knows without pollinators, we wouldn’t have birds, flowers, or so many other things,” Whitsett added. “The global food supply can be so challenged if we don’t take care of pollinators. People can do a lot small things that can make a big difference for pollinators. She’ll talk about some of those things.”

People must register in advance to view the program. Instructions are on the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society website

The society’s lecture series runs from September through June. Meetings are the first Thursday of the month starting with business at 10 a.m. and followed by a program at 10:30 a.m. Members are currently discussing how to safely hold field trips and other activities in the fall, winter, and spring. Email Whitsett at for more information on the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society.